DATE: September 29, 2006
TO: Virginia Colleges and Universities
FROM: Robert B. Stroube, M.D., M.P.H.
State Health Commissioner
Virginia Department of Health
SUBJECT: Steps to Protect College and University Students from Mumps
As you may have heard, a cluster of suspected mumps cases has been reported at the University of Virginia. Isolated cases have also occurred throughout the Commonwealth. In general, we are seeing a significant rise in mumps reporting in 2006 when compared to the last several years. This is likely due, in part, to increased awareness following the large, primarily college-based, mumps outbreak that occurred in the Midwest beginning in December 2005.
Colleges and universities can take several steps to decrease the risk of mumps among students and others in their communities. The most effective strategy is to ensure that all students have received two doses of Measles, Mumps, Rubella vaccine (MMR) or have other evidence of immunity. Acceptable evidence of immunity to mumps includes one of the following: documentation of adequate vaccination; laboratory evidence of immunity (positive mumps IgG); birth before 1957; or documentation of physician-diagnosed mumps.
A thorough review of immunization documentation is recommended to ensure that all students are protected from mumps. Students who are unable to document their immune status should be offered MMR vaccine as soon as possible, with a second dose, if necessary, administered at least 28 days later.
A colleges or university with a suspected case of mumps should immediately contact the appropriate local Virginia Department of Health district office. A listing of these facilities may be found at (). The health department will assist by providing guidance and recommendations on disease control measures, specimen collection and use of appropriate laboratory test, and will complete a thorough investigation to identify exposed contacts.
Implementation of these measures will help ensure that all students are protected and will help minimize the disruption and havoc caused by a mumps outbreak in a college setting. If you would like additional information about mumps disease or vaccine, please contact Laura Ann Nicolai, VDH Division of Immunization Epidemiologist, at (804) 864-8055.